CORRECTION: Yesterday’s unsubstantiated tip (item 6) about the Victorian government awarding contracts to unregistered consultants reported that IPP Consulting is unregistered. IPP has pointed out to Crikey that the reason the company didn’t appear under a search of the register was because spaces were inadvertently inserted into the company name during the registration process. A search for “I P P” brings up the relevant registration to provide security advice.

Ben Oquist, political consultant and former adviser to Greens Leader Bob Brown, writes: Re. “The Greens’ poll psychology” (yesterday, item 4). Of course Green bashing from Christian Kerr will not surprise anyone and his regurgitation of a nasty inaccurate column from The Age‘s Jason Koutsoukis does not strengthen his arguments. But Mr Kerr and Mr Koutsoukis got one thing right with their claim that “the Greens will flop again at the 2006 federal election”. I’ll go one step further and predict the party will not win a single vote. Nor will anyone else.

Jodie Hughson, People Power candidate for the Eastern Victoria Region, writes: Re. “People Power’s real achievement” (yesterday, item 13). As one of the many great people who went forward as a candidate for People Power, I would like to say to Mr Kerr, how dare you be so arrogant! What do you think most of us have been doing all our lives – sitting around waiting to run in the election? I can speak on behalf of many of the candidates who have been long time campaigners for social justice issues, many of whom have a family member, or themselves, with a disability. I am outraged that you should assume you are out there “doing good” while People Power candidates are wasting time running a losing campaign. If more of us in society do not stand up and fight the good fight at a political level soon the only money left for disability and mental health will be coming from the church fetes. Why don’t you all get over your issues with Stephen Mayne and have a good look at what he and the other people of People Power are trying to achieve.

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David Havyatt writes: Chistian Kerr is right to note that People Power didn’t really achieve anything in the Victorian election, except make a donation to the Victorian government. However, a campaign like Stephen’s does take away some of the media attention from other parties. It is totally unreasonable to refer to the Australian Democrats as a “mouldering corpse” when it did outpoll People Power despite being totally ignored by the media. And, while I’m at it, can I thank the nice people at Christchurch in Hawthorn where they put on a free barbecue for the voters, which was even nicer than a trading table.

Cathy Bannister writes: Blimey, I can’t believe that the Government is going to get away with that same “nobody told me” excuse again. It’s so bloody predictable. Let’s see now – the wicked public service didn’t tell Peter Reith or anyone else in government that the “children overboard” story was a crock. Someone in the PM’s office carefully filtered out ONA reports that there probably weren’t any weapons of mass destruction. SIEV X? Never heard of it, and that’s why people were gagged at the Senate Estimates enquiry. Abu Ghraib – heck, ’til he saw those photos, Robert Hill thought it was a Club Med resort. And now we have the AWB in cahoots with Saddam Hussein to defraud the UN Oil for Food Scheme – a tidy little scam of which Alexander Downer was blissfully unaware, despite several diplomatic cables crossing his desk in late June, 2003. Must have been those dippy staff again – one can only assume that if the Government line is correct, the Public Service, from the office of the Prime Minister downwards, is full of hand-picked nincompoops who routinely lose or circular file anything inconvenient. A less flaccid opposition wouldn’t have let them get away with the same bullsh-t again and again.

Mitchell Holmes writes: Re. “The great private equity tax lurk” (yesterday, item 20). I am puzzled by the assertion that private equity funds paying interest on borrowed money to fund the purchase of a business is a tax lurk. 1) Paying interest means paying real money – it is not a free kick like 150% deductions for film investments, investment allowances or accelerated depreciation. 2) If applied consistently, this argument means that no interest paid on any income producing activity should be deductible – a nonsense argument, as most businesses cannot afford to operate without some debt and would effectively be paying tax on interest paid.

Michael Kennedy from the office of Marsha Thomson, Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, writes: Re. “Mind your Qantas frequent flyer points – and your super” (yesterday, item 22). Mr Pascoe should worry unduly about the Qantas frequent flyer scheme – except if he lives in Victoria. Part 2B of Victoria’s Fair Trading Act prohibits a company from unilaterally changing a consumer contract without the agreement of the parties. There a considerable fine (per contract – eg. for each frequent flyer account) for any company which chooses to treat Victorian consumers with disdain. This was recently upheld in decision of the President of the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal – see Consumer Affairs Victoria v AAPT. Yet another reason why Victorians voted for the return of the Bracks Government and why NSW and Qld are about to introduce similar legislation.

Chris G Colenso-Dunne writes: Dear Prime Minister, I am writing to you as the first minister in Her Majesty’s government in Australia to ask you to stop referring to Her Majesty’s government as your government. It isn’t your government: it is Her Majesty’s. If the day comes that the people of Australia replace Her Majesty as head of state with an elected president, then it may then be appropriate for the President to talk about his or her Australian government. Fortunately, that miserable day has not yet come. In the meantime, it is bad form for a prime minister to start thinking that he is the president. Therein lies hubris – not an attractive characteristic in any Australian, especially not in Her Majesty’s first minister in Australia.

Gail Lane writes: According to yesterday’s editorial, those of us who believe the office of Governor-General is superfluous are (by inference), unintelligent. I assume – hope – that this was an editorial error, or perhaps I am unintelligently misreading and misinterpreting it?

Maria Conidaris writes: I suppose if the Governor-General felt no pleasure at being usurped by the PM, he could always sack him.

TVS Chief Executive Laurie Patton writes: Re. AFL on community channels. Glenn Dyer is spot on noting that community television coverage in Melbourne isn’t the issue when it comes to AFL broadcasts next year because: “It’s Sydney and Brisbane where Seven will want it to be seen on Friday night”. Sydney’s new community channel, TVS, was only launched in late February this year and has a powerful new transmitter that Broadcast Australia maintains is broadly comparable with SBS and ABC. With Pay TV penetration around 25% of households it follows that far more Sydneysiders would be able to watch AFL games if they were shown on TVS and they’d see them FREE!

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Peter Fray
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